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Ralph Waite dead at 85

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Ralph Waite, perhaps best known as family patriarch John Walton of "The Waltons," died Thursday February 13, 2014 at his home. He was 85.

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Waite, who most recently could be seen on the CBS drama "NCIS" as Jackson Gibbs, father to Mark Harmon's Leroy Jethro Gibbs, had a long and successful acting career. Though he appeared in dozens of television series and made for TV movies, it was his role of hard working and clean living John Walton of "The Waltons" that most people associated with the actor.

Waite was born June 22, 1928 in White Plains, New York. After graduating with a degree from Bucknell University, he attempted several types of work (social worker, editor, and Presbyterian minister, to name a few) before pursuing a future in acting.

The actor is survived by his wife, Linda, a stepson, Liam, and two daughters, Kathleen and Suzanne. A cause of death has not been listed at this time.

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